In modern linguistic research there are discussions on the proper interpretation of the terms in Humanities. This issue affects the following linguistic terms like “symbol” and “image”, which are not differentiated enough.
In the article, the problem of interrelation between the concepts of symbol and image is discovered. It discovered that the symbol and image correlation is a key issue in the field of linguistic studies. Terminology variability of these concepts, as it is considered, provides an article novelty.
Based on the etymology of the term “symbol”, it is obvious that the symbol should, first of all, be considered within semiotics, because its nature coincides with the sign three-component model, which was considered by Charles Pierce. The main component for the symbol is interpretant. Being a basis of lingual and semiotic interpretation, it is a certain interpretation of sign that is deepened and modified by the perception of the interpreter as a participant of sign situation. Interpretant, which is a part of semiosis, is understood as a thought which occurs when a potential symbol is being perceived. Thus, interpretant as a special form of representation, no longer binds the sign and its object, but a sign and its mental sign (the sign of idea with the very idea). Each mental sign gives rise to interpretant.
It is found out that the image belongs to the sign-images, because it has similarities with the object, and symbol - to the sign-symbols because it is a conventional symbol, whose denotatum is conventionally bound with a form through the meaning. The image is considered as a notional interpretant product, that is the result of the contemplation of the object and the process of idea creation of it, whereas the symbol – of the cultural interpretant, that is the result of deployment of the culturally markes meanings of the sign. Thus, symbol and image differ according to the nature of their interpretation: in the first case, it is notional, cultural and evaluative – in the second one.
According to the cultural approach to the nature of the term “symbol” an object of symbolization is a form of object-sensory being of an artistic image; material or ideanational cultural object.
According to the approach to the nature of the term “symbol” in the theory of literature an object of symbolization is sensual images that are conditional expression of the ideal content.
The study focuses on determining the intersection points of the terms symbol and image. It is substantiated that artistic, poetic symbol in literary theory, in contrast to its consideration in lingual and semiotic and cultural studies, is identified with the image, but the image does not reveal the specification of the symbol.
It was found that the terminological variability of symbol and image is caused by their direct interaction: artistic symbol helps to broaden the meaningful perspective of the composition based on the images perception.